VETS are expecting large numbers of deadly canine cough this year, especially during the Christmas pet boarding and family holiday season.
"Canine cough is a highly contagious infection which is spread quickly between dogs when they are in close contact, such as when boarding or on holiday with the family," said Queensland president of the Australian Veterinary Association, Dr Jodie Wilson.
"We're already seeing unusually high numbers of sick dogs in NSW, and these cases tend spread in waves much like with human flu.
"So far vets are treating much more severe cases than we normally encounter, with older dogs being particularly susceptible.
"We usually see a rise in the number of cases during the school holidays as more dogs are boarded and are socialised more, so we're very concerned to see such high numbers appearing even before the holiday season arrives.
"It's really important that dogs are up to date with their vaccinations to help prevent the disease.
"Canine cough can cause serious problems unless caught early.
"Signs of canine cough include a harsh, dry hacking cough, as well as retching, sneezing and vomiting in some cases.
"The disease normally lasts between 10 and 20 days," Dr Wilson said.
Effective prevention can be provided through regular vaccination, and most kennels will require proof of vaccination before they will allow a dog to board.
If you have concerns that your dog may have contracted canine cough, visit your local vet immediately for treatment.